SERIES 7

Satire Run Amok

Content -4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Starring: Brooke Smith, Glenn
Fitzgerald, Marylouise Burke,
Michael Kaycheck, Angelina
Phillips, Merritt Wever, &
Richard Venture

Genre: Satire

Audience: Older teenagers & adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 85 minutes

Distributor: USA Films

Director: Daniel Minahan

Executive Producer: Charles Rusbasan

Producer: Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente,
Christine Vachon, & Katie
Roumel

Writer: Daniel Minahan

Address Comments To:

Scott Greenstein, Chairman
USA Films
9333 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 385-4000
Fax: (310) 385-4408

Content:

(Pa, AbAb, LLL, VVV, S, NN, A, DD, MM) Pagan worldview with anti-Christian portrayal of a Roman Catholic nurse who turns out to be a very bad role model & nurse’s Catholic/Christian beliefs satirized; 59 obscenities & 15 or 16 profanities; extreme violence such as woman brutally shoots man in convenience store (shown several times), man beats teenager to death with cane, gunfire, murders by gunfire & lethal injections, attempted suicide, & bloody birth scene; implied fornication between two teenagers, unwed mother & other implied illegitimate births; rear & upper nudity in sexual context; alcohol use; smoking, implied cocaine use & using drugs to kill people & attempt; and, miscellaneous immorality such as very negative parental models, threats, implied mercy killings, & past abortion mentioned.

Summary:

SERIES 7 is a timely satire of tacky tabloid television shows like HARD COPY and new reality shows like SURVIVOR and TEMPTATION ISLAND. The movie not only includes frank, but made up, depictions of violence, gore, trashy language, and brief teenage sexuality; it also may end up contributing to the sleaziness of tabloid reality TV by making a joke out of it, much like professional wrestling.

Review:

SERIES 7 is a timely satire of tacky tabloid television shows like HARD COPY and new reality shows like SURVIVOR and TEMPTATION ISLAND.

The movie is a TV show-within-a-movie. It plays like a marathon of episodes from the seventh season of a phony reality television show called THE CONTENDERS. In the show, the producers choose people at random to kill one another off until a lone champion survives. The “contestants” are chosen by lottery, given a gun, assigned a cameraman, and let loose. As the narrator repeats several times during the episodes, “The only prize is the only prize that counts: your life.”

Brooke Smith stars in SERIES 7 as Dawn, the 8-months-pregnant reigning champion with 10 “kills” in two “games.” Single, alienated from her family and with just one round to go before she wins her freedom, she returns to her hometown of Newbury, Conn. after 15 years to kill five other contestants. The stakes get higher when Dawn must confront her shared past with one of the other contestants, Jeff, her high-school sweetheart. Jeff is now married and has terminal cancer, and he wants Dawn to be the one to kill him. This leads to several plot twists which the producers of the phony TV show are only too willing to exploit in a melodramatic fashion in order to increase the show’s ratings.

SERIES 7 strongly attacks the sleazy qualities of tabloid television, including so-called reality programming, but the concept for the movie is just too real to be much fun. Violent murders are shot in a documentary, hand-held camera, style. There’s even a bloody scene where Dawn gives birth to her child. In another scene, the father of a 17-year-old contestant catches her in bed with her boyfriend. The TV show-within-a-movie also uses familiar tabloid television techniques to exploit the emotional drama between Dawn and Jeff, much like episodes for JERRY SPRINGER and SURVIVOR or the promos for shows like THE MOLE and TEMPTATION ISLAND. In fact, even “respectable” news magazine TV shows like 60 MINUTES use such techniques.

The problem with SERIES 7, therefore, is not just the frank depiction of violence, gore, trashy language, and brief teenage sexuality. Many children and teenagers will have trouble separating fact and fiction when they watch this kind of satire, as they have done while watching such things as professional wrestling. Thus, the creators of this movie may think they are only exposing the evils of tabloid TV, but they also may end up contributing to it instead by making a joke out of it.

In Brief:

SERIES 7 is a timely satire of tacky tabloid television shows like HARD COPY and new reality shows like SURVIVOR and TEMPTATION ISLAND. It is a series of phony episodes from a television game show called THE CONTENDERS where the contestants must kill one another off until one lone champion survives. The reigning champion, an eight months pregnant single mother, faces a major obstacle when one of the contestants turns out to be her high-school sweetheart. Her old flame is now married and has terminal cancer, and he wants her to be the one to kill him.

The problem with SERIES 7, therefore, is not just the frank depiction of violence, gore, trashy language, and brief teenage sexuality. Many children and teenagers will have trouble separating fact and fiction when they watch this kind of satire, as they have done while watching such things as professional wrestling. Thus, the creators of this movie may think they are only exposing the evils of tabloid TV, but they also may end up contributing to it instead by making a joke out of it, much like the wild antics of professional wrestlers on TV